ISLAMABAD: In the light of recommendations of a three-member fact finding committee into missing containers from the Port Qasim, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has taken measures including disciplinary and criminal proceedings against the officials involved.
The FBR formed a high-level fact finding committee headed by a BPS-21 officer with two BPS-20 officers as members.
“On recommendations of the committee following actions have been initiated,” a source in the FBR told Customs Today. He said that disciplinary proceedings against a principal officer, three appraising officers and two examining officers had been initiated.
Moreover, in the light of recommendations, the source said that specific role of assistant and deputy collectors who remained in-charge of off-dock terminal was being identified for further necessary action.
The source said that senior management of the collectorate had been asked to explain their position with regard to the lapse.
“The Intelligence and Investigation-FBR Director General has been asked as suggested by the fact finding committee for initiation for criminal proceedings against the terminal operator,” the source said.
Furthermore, the source said that audit of all imported containerised commercial cargo discharged at the Port Qasim during last five years had been undertaken by the collectorate.
The source said that the Senate’s Standing committee on Ports and Shipping took up the case of missing of containers from the Pot Qasim and the matter was discussed in several meeting.
“The FBR had also been invited to these meetings to explain the nature of crime as well as latest status of the case; consequently, the Senate’s Sanding Committee reiterated its direction regarding immediate referral of the case of missing containers by ministry of Ports and Shipping to Federal Investigation Authority (FIA),” the source observed.
Followed by the directions from the FBR, the source added that FIA Corporate Crime Circle Karachi registered the subject inquiry number 35/2014 and requested copies of the record of the case vide its letter dated 20-11-2014.
“The Detecting Agency, Directorate General Intelligence and Investigation-FBR vide letter in November submitted the requisite record to FIA,” the source added.
The source said that after investigating information that importer MI Traders Karachi had fraudulently and illegally removed dutiable imported goods from PMBQ Karachi against fake goods declaration without payment of leviable of duty and taxes, the Directorate General of Intelligence and investigation FBR lodged an FIR on August 5, 2013 against the importer.
Later, the source said that scope of investigation was widened and subsequently nine more FIRs were lodged against Fatimi Motors, Karachi, Mian Enterprises Lahore, VA International Lahore, Zafar Sons Karachi, Eve Luck Enterprises Karachi, Unique International Karachi, Xaviar Co Karachi, Sea Gold Corporation and VB International Lahore.
Reportedly, the source said that some fifty containers bearing Housing spare parts were removed during the period May 2012 to July 2013.
“In this regard, the customs intelligence arrested six people while another twelve obtained interim bail,” the source said, adding that 10 of these people pleaded guilty and paid Rs 18.91 million against 33 containers before the trial court and interior challans had been filed in all 10 cases.
The source said that the department concerned took more steps after the incident was reported including customs officers were posted at the gate were suspended and charge sheeted for their lapse.
“Moreover, operations of QFS were suspended, however, QFS got orders suspended by the high court,” the source said, adding that additional customs staff was posted at QFS to a check any illegal removal from off-dock terminals, gate-out clearance of the consignments in the WebOC system was now being used followed by both customs staff as well as the concerned terminal operator.
“Electronic Data Interchange was introduced to cover live activities,” the source concluded.